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Evidence that the Lunar Cycle Influences Human Sleep

Overview of attention for article published in Current Biology, July 2013
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  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • Among the highest-scoring outputs from this source (#13 of 7,205)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (99th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (99th percentile)

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Title
Evidence that the Lunar Cycle Influences Human Sleep
Published in
Current Biology, July 2013
DOI 10.1016/j.cub.2013.06.029
Pubmed ID
Authors

Christian Cajochen, Songül Altanay-Ekici, Mirjam Münch, Sylvia Frey, Vera Knoblauch, Anna Wirz-Justice, Cajochen C, Altanay-Ekici S, Münch M, Frey S, Knoblauch V, Wirz-Justice A

Abstract

Endogenous rhythms of circalunar periodicity (∼29.5 days) and their underlying molecular and genetic basis have been demonstrated in a number of marine species [1, 2]. In contrast, there is a great deal of folklore but no consistent association of moon cycles with human physiology and behavior [3]. Here we show that subjective and objective measures of sleep vary according to lunar phase and thus may reflect circalunar rhythmicity in humans. To exclude confounders such as increased light at night or the potential bias in perception regarding a lunar influence on sleep, we retrospectively analyzed sleep structure, electroencephalographic activity during non-rapid-eye-movement (NREM) sleep, and secretion of the hormones melatonin and cortisol found under stringently controlled laboratory conditions in a cross-sectional setting. At no point during and after the study were volunteers or investigators aware of the a posteriori analysis relative to lunar phase. We found that around full moon, electroencephalogram (EEG) delta activity during NREM sleep, an indicator of deep sleep, decreased by 30%, time to fall asleep increased by 5 min, and EEG-assessed total sleep duration was reduced by 20 min. These changes were associated with a decrease in subjective sleep quality and diminished endogenous melatonin levels. This is the first reliable evidence that a lunar rhythm can modulate sleep structure in humans when measured under the highly controlled conditions of a circadian laboratory study protocol without time cues.

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Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 255 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Germany 10 4%
United Kingdom 6 2%
United States 6 2%
France 4 2%
Spain 4 2%
Japan 4 2%
Mexico 3 1%
Portugal 3 1%
Lithuania 2 <1%
Other 19 7%
Unknown 194 76%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 65 25%
Researcher 54 21%
Student > Bachelor 29 11%
Student > Master 22 9%
Professor 17 7%
Other 68 27%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 101 40%
Psychology 37 15%
Medicine and Dentistry 29 11%
Neuroscience 16 6%
Unspecified 12 5%
Other 60 24%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 1517. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 04 October 2017.
All research outputs
#741
of 8,660,274 outputs
Outputs from Current Biology
#13
of 7,205 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#8
of 128,132 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Current Biology
#1
of 113 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 8,660,274 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 99th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 7,205 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 37.0. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 128,132 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 113 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its contemporaries.